Filing an Application for Citizenship by Naturalization

How to file all an application to become a U.S. Citizen by Naturalization as a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder)

Overview

Click on each step to view the details

How Long Does it Take?

Most applications take 7-15 months.


How much does it cost?

Immigrants Like Us does not charge anything to help you prepare and file your application, but you will need to pay government fees of $725 for the majority of applications.


What if I have questions?

If you need help with any part of the application process, you can reach us by clicking the button below.


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1. Assemble your forms and supporting documents

Your completed packet needs to include these forms and the supporting documents listed under each. Be sure to sign all forms in the relevant places. In general, the forms and their supporting documents should be assembled in the order below.

It is a good idea to include a cover letter that lists all of the forms, supporting documents, and fee payments in your packet. This will help USCIS keep track of your documents as they process your application. You can find a sample cover letter here. Note that this sample may need to be edited to match your specific application, but the basic format will work for most applications.

How do I schedule the exam?

Use the USCIS “find a doctor” tool or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate a nearby civil surgeon authorized to perform immigration medical exams. Let the doctor’s office know that you are contacting them to set up a medical exam appointment for immigration purposes.

What should I bring to the exam?

Having all of your documents ready before your appointment will help the medical exam go smoothly. Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you:
● Your immunization or vaccination records
● A copy of your medical history
● Copies of any previous chest X-rays, if any
● A letter from your regular doctor outlining the treatment plan for any health problems you have
● A government-issued photo ID, such as your passport, state ID, driver’s license, travel permit, or work permit
● Payment for the medical exam fee (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment for acceptable payment options)
● Your health insurance card, if any (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment if they accept your insurance)
● A blank copy of Form I-693

What happens during the medical exam

During the medical exam, the doctor will review your immunization and medical history with you. They will ask both general and specific questions about your health. You’ll also get a basic checkup (or “physical”). Unless you’re instructed to come back to the doctor’s office, the doctor will provide your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.
In addition, the doctor will look for specific conditions that fall into the following categories:
● Communicable diseases (including tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea)
● Drug abuse or addiction
● Physical or mental disorders associated with harmful behavior
● Conditions that make it impossible for you to support yourself
The doctor will perform the following tests to screen for these conditions:
● Tuberculosis test
● Blood and urine tests
● Vaccination screening
● Drug and alcohol screening

OPTIONAL Form I-912 Fee Waiver Application

(If we determined that you were eligible for a fee waiver and helped you complete the form)

There are no supporting documents officially required, but the more documents you submit to demonstrate your financial need (tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, etc.), the better.

OPTIONAL Form G-1145

(e-notice authorization if you want to receive an email when USCIS accepts your application)

OPTIONAL Form G-1450

(credit card charge authorization if you want to pay by credit card)


2. Pay the government fees

You will need to pay the following fees when you file your application unless we determined that you are eligible for a fee waiver and helped you complete form I-912.  

These fees change periodically, and we do our best to keep them updated. You can confirm the current filing fees for each of the forms in your packet here.

Fees can be paid by money order, personal check, cashier’s check, and credit card. If you’d like to pay by credit card, you must fill out Form G-1450 and include it with your paperwork.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” You should include a separate check or money order per item, and reference the item you are paying for in the memo line (“Biometrics,” or “Form N-400.”)

If you file online, you will pay these fees online as well. Most Immigrants Like Us clients file by mail.

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Form N-400

$535


Biometrics

Most applicants: $85.

Applicants under 14 years old or over 79 years old: $0

OPTIONAL Form I-912 Fee Waiver Application

(If we determined that you were eligible for a fee waiver and helped you complete the form)

There are no supporting documents officially required, but the more documents you submit to demonstrate your financial need (tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, etc.), the better.

OPTIONAL Form G-1145

(e-notice authorization if you want to receive an email when USCIS accepts your application)

OPTIONAL Form G-1450

(credit card charge authorization if you want to pay by credit card)


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3. Submit your paperwork to USCIS

You may submit your N-400 to USCIS as early as 90 days before reaching your three- or five-year wait period as a green card holder as long as you’ve satisfied all other eligibility requirements. This lets you get a head-start on the application process.

By Mail:

Most Immigrants Like Us clients file their N-400 packet by mail. You can mail your full application packet and fees to one the addresses listed here under “Where to File.” The address you use will depend on 1) what state you live in, and 2) what service you use to mail your packet. It is a good idea to send your packet with tracking so that you can keep tabs on it.

Online:

You can also file your N-400 and supporting documents online here.  If you used the Immigrants Like Us system to prepare your N-400, you will need to use that form to answer the questions in the online USCIS application again. You will also need to make digital copies of your supporting documents in order to upload them to the online portal. If you are applying based on your military service, are applying from outside of the U.S., or are applying for a fee waiver or reduced fee, you cannot file your Form N-400 online.

OPTIONAL Form I-912 Fee Waiver Application

(If we determined that you were eligible for a fee waiver and helped you complete the form)

There are no supporting documents officially required, but the more documents you submit to demonstrate your financial need (tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, etc.), the better.

OPTIONAL Form G-1145

(e-notice authorization if you want to receive an email when USCIS accepts your application)

OPTIONAL Form G-1450

(credit card charge authorization if you want to pay by credit card)


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4. Wait for notices about your Green Card application

You will receive a variety of notices throughout the application process. These will be mailed to the mailing address(es) you provided on your paperwork, and will provide you with updates on your case status, requests for more information, and notices of upcoming tasks and events. A standard application will receive the following notices:

Receipt Notice

  1. What is it?: USCIS will send you a notice stating that they have received your application. This notice will include a unique code called a “Receipt Number” that consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. Look for it in the notification letter, Form I-797C (officially called the “Notice of Action”), that you received when USCIS accepted your Form I-485. You can use this code to track the status of your application by following these instructions.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Requests for Evidence (RFEs)

  1. What are they?:: If USCIS needs any additional information to support your application, they will send you a notification of this the this.
  2. When should you receive them?:2-3 months after filing your application
  3. What should you do if you get an RFE? Respond as quickly as possible by following the steps in the Request and the guidelines in this article.

Biometrics Appointment Notice

  1. What is it?: As part of your Green Card application process, you will be required to attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment. USCIS will schedule you for this appointment and send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Notice of Interview appointment date

  1. What is it?: The last step of the Green Card application process is an interview with USCIS. USCIS will schedule this interview once they have finished processing your application and will send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 3-6 months after filing your application.

5. Attend your biometrics appointment

What is it?

As part of applying for a Family Green Card, you are required to attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment. The purpose of this appointment is to ensure you do not have a serious criminal record or any relevant prior immigration violations.

This article provides a great overview of what to expect during your biometrics appointment.

When is it?

Applicants will attend their biometrics appointment at a local USCIS office fairly early in the application process, typically 5-8 weeks after filing their Green Card application.

Receipt Notice

  1. What is it?: USCIS will send you a notice stating that they have received your application. This notice will include a unique code called a “Receipt Number” that consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. Look for it in the notification letter, Form I-797C (officially called the “Notice of Action”), that you received when USCIS accepted your Form I-485. You can use this code to track the status of your application by following these instructions.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Requests for Evidence (RFEs)

  1. What are they?:: If USCIS needs any additional information to support your application, they will send you a notification of this the this.
  2. When should you receive them?:2-3 months after filing your application
  3. What should you do if you get an RFE? Respond as quickly as possible by following the steps in the Request and the guidelines in this article.

Biometrics Appointment Notice

  1. What is it?: As part of your Green Card application process, you will be required to attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment. USCIS will schedule you for this appointment and send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Notice of Interview appointment date

  1. What is it?: The last step of the Green Card application process is an interview with USCIS. USCIS will schedule this interview once they have finished processing your application and will send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 3-6 months after filing your application.

6. Prepare for your interview and exam

The citizenship interview is the second to last step of the Naturalization process. It is usually scheduled around 14 months after you file your application. Exactly when it occurs depends on how long it takes to process your application, which, depends heavily on which USCIS field office is handling your case. The office is assigned to you based on your ZIP code.

This interview is also referred to as a citizenship “exam,” because the USCIS officer will also give you a two-part test (unless you qualify for an exemption):

  1. An English language test, which will evaluate your written and spoken English skills.
  2. A civics test, which will test your knowledge of U.S. history and basic information about the U.S. government.

These tests are fairly basic, and USCIS provides study materials to help you prepare for them. You’ll also have two chances to take the tests: once during your interview and again at a later date to retake any portion that you didn’t pass the first time. It’s a good idea to start preparing for the interview and exam early, though, so that your interview is exciting rather than intimidating.

How do I schedule the exam?

Use the USCIS “find a doctor” tool or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate a nearby civil surgeon authorized to perform immigration medical exams. Let the doctor’s office know that you are contacting them to set up a medical exam appointment for immigration purposes.

What should I bring to the exam?

Having all of your documents ready before your appointment will help the medical exam go smoothly. Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you:
● Your immunization or vaccination records
● A copy of your medical history
● Copies of any previous chest X-rays, if any
● A letter from your regular doctor outlining the treatment plan for any health problems you have
● A government-issued photo ID, such as your passport, state ID, driver’s license, travel permit, or work permit
● Payment for the medical exam fee (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment for acceptable payment options)
● Your health insurance card, if any (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment if they accept your insurance)
● A blank copy of Form I-693

What happens during the medical exam

During the medical exam, the doctor will review your immunization and medical history with you. They will ask both general and specific questions about your health. You’ll also get a basic checkup (or “physical”). Unless you’re instructed to come back to the doctor’s office, the doctor will provide your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.
In addition, the doctor will look for specific conditions that fall into the following categories:
● Communicable diseases (including tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea)
● Drug abuse or addiction
● Physical or mental disorders associated with harmful behavior
● Conditions that make it impossible for you to support yourself
The doctor will perform the following tests to screen for these conditions:
● Tuberculosis test
● Blood and urine tests
● Vaccination screening
● Drug and alcohol screening

7. Attend the interview and take the exam

The citizenship interview is the second to last step of the Naturalization process. It is usually scheduled around 14 months after you file your application. Exactly when it occurs depends on how long it takes to process your application, which, depends heavily on which USCIS field office is handling your case. The office is assigned to you based on your ZIP code.

During this interview, a USCIS officer will verify that all of the information on your naturalization application is correct. The interview will usually take place at the nearest USCIS office. If you are applying from abroad, your interview will be at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are on active military duty, your interview may be held at a military facility.

This interview is also referred to as a citizenship “exam,” because the USCIS officer will also give you a two-part test (unless you qualify for an exemption):

  1. An English language test, which will evaluate your written and spoken English skills.
  2. A civics test, which will test your knowledge of U.S. history and basic information about the U.S. government.

These tests are fairly basic, and USCIS provides study materials to help you prepare. You’ll also have two chances to take the tests: once during your interview and again at a later date to retake any portion that you didn’t pass the first time.

If you pass the interview and exam, the USCIS officer will approve your application at the end of the interview. If USCIS needs additional information from you, they will scheduled you for a second interview.

If you do not pass, USCIS will send you a denial letter. This letter will explain why you did not pass, and you may appeal the decision within 30 days of receiving the letter. You can also reapply if the 30-day appeal period has expired.

Form N-400

$535


Biometrics

Most applicants: $85.

Applicants under 14 years old or over 79 years old: $0

8. Receive a decision on your application

If the interview and exam go well and USCIS does not need any additional paperwork from you, your naturalization application may be approved at your interview. Otherwise, USCIS will have 120 days from the date of your citizenship interview to send you their decision. (via Form N-652, the “Notice of Examination Results”).

You can expect one of three outcomes:

1. Your application is approved, in which case you will be scheduled for a Naturalization Ceremony!

2. Your application is continued, meaning USCIS has placed it on hold for one of these reasons:

  • You did not pass your citizenship exam (or a portion of it): If this happens, you must return for a second interview and retake the portion of the exam that you did not pass. If you do not pass the exam on your second attempt, your application will be denied.
  • You did not provide enough documentation or information: If this happens, you will receive a Form N-14, explaining what, where, and how to send the missing items to USCIS. If you do not fulfill this request within 30 days, your application may be denied.

3. Your application is denied, in which case you will receive a letter from USCIS stating this decision and informing you of your options. If denied, you may file an appeal (request a hearing with a USCIS officer) within 30 days of receiving the denial letter. USCIS will respond to your appeal by scheduling a hearing within 180 days. If USCIS denies your application after the appeal hearing, you can request to have a U.S. district court review your case.

It’s important to adequately prepare for the citizenship interview and exam so that your application is approved the first time. It’s also critical to provide all of the information USCIS requests in a timely fashion. If you study hard and stay on top of any requests, we are confident that you will have a good chance of being quickly approved.

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9. Take the Oath of Allegiance and receive your Certificate of Naturalization!

If your application is approved, your Oath of Allegiance ceremony will likely occur on the same day as your interview and exam. Otherwise, USCIS will schedule it 2-6 weeks later. You’ll receive a letter (Form N-445,  “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony”) with the date, time, and location of the ceremony. You’ll receive your Certificate of Naturalization at the ceremony after taking the Oath.

If you can’t attend the Oath of Allegiance ceremony, you must return the notice to your local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why you cannot attend the ceremony that you were scheduled for. If you do not appear more than once for your naturalization ceremony without proper notice, your application may be denied.

Remember: You are not a U.S. citizen until you’ve taken the Oath of Allegiance, so it’s important that you show up for the ceremony when you are scheduled or rescheduled to appear.

Once you have taken the oath and received your certificate, you will need to:

These are not part of the Naturalization process, but they are necessary steps as a new Citizen.

You have reached the end of your immigration journey. Congratulations — you are now a full-fledged U.S Citizen!


Notice of Interview appointment date

  1. What is it?: The last step of the Green Card application process is an interview with USCIS. USCIS will schedule this interview once they have finished processing your application and will send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 3-6 months after filing your application.

Requests for Evidence (RFEs)

  1. What are they?:: If USCIS needs any additional information to support your application, they will send you a notification of this the this.
  2. When should you receive them?:2-3 months after filing your application
  3. What should you do if you get an RFE? Respond as quickly as possible by following the steps in the Request and the guidelines in this article.

Biometrics Appointment Notice

  1. What is it?: As part of your Green Card application process, you will be required to attend a biometrics (photo and fingerprinting) appointment. USCIS will schedule you for this appointment and send you notice of the date, time, and location.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

Receipt Notice

  1. What is it?: USCIS will send you a notice stating that they have received your application. This notice will include a unique code called a “Receipt Number” that consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. Look for it in the notification letter, Form I-797C (officially called the “Notice of Action”), that you received when USCIS accepted your Form I-485. You can use this code to track the status of your application by following these instructions.
  2. When should you receive it?: 2-3 weeks after filing your application.

How do I schedule the exam?

Use the USCIS “find a doctor” tool or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate a nearby civil surgeon authorized to perform immigration medical exams. Let the doctor’s office know that you are contacting them to set up a medical exam appointment for immigration purposes.

What should I bring to the exam?

Having all of your documents ready before your appointment will help the medical exam go smoothly. Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you:
● Your immunization or vaccination records
● A copy of your medical history
● Copies of any previous chest X-rays, if any
● A letter from your regular doctor outlining the treatment plan for any health problems you have
● A government-issued photo ID, such as your passport, state ID, driver’s license, travel permit, or work permit
● Payment for the medical exam fee (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment for acceptable payment options)
● Your health insurance card, if any (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment if they accept your insurance)
● A blank copy of Form I-693

What happens during the medical exam

During the medical exam, the doctor will review your immunization and medical history with you. They will ask both general and specific questions about your health. You’ll also get a basic checkup (or “physical”). Unless you’re instructed to come back to the doctor’s office, the doctor will provide your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.
In addition, the doctor will look for specific conditions that fall into the following categories:
● Communicable diseases (including tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea)
● Drug abuse or addiction
● Physical or mental disorders associated with harmful behavior
● Conditions that make it impossible for you to support yourself
The doctor will perform the following tests to screen for these conditions:
● Tuberculosis test
● Blood and urine tests
● Vaccination screening
● Drug and alcohol screening

How do I schedule the exam?

Use the USCIS “find a doctor” tool or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate a nearby civil surgeon authorized to perform immigration medical exams. Let the doctor’s office know that you are contacting them to set up a medical exam appointment for immigration purposes.

What should I bring to the exam?

Having all of your documents ready before your appointment will help the medical exam go smoothly. Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you:
● Your immunization or vaccination records
● A copy of your medical history
● Copies of any previous chest X-rays, if any
● A letter from your regular doctor outlining the treatment plan for any health problems you have
● A government-issued photo ID, such as your passport, state ID, driver’s license, travel permit, or work permit
● Payment for the medical exam fee (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment for acceptable payment options)
● Your health insurance card, if any (check with the doctor’s office before your appointment if they accept your insurance)
● A blank copy of Form I-693

What happens during the medical exam

During the medical exam, the doctor will review your immunization and medical history with you. They will ask both general and specific questions about your health. You’ll also get a basic checkup (or “physical”). Unless you’re instructed to come back to the doctor’s office, the doctor will provide your medical exam results in a sealed envelope at the end of your appointment. Do not break the seal or open the envelope.
In addition, the doctor will look for specific conditions that fall into the following categories:
● Communicable diseases (including tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea)
● Drug abuse or addiction
● Physical or mental disorders associated with harmful behavior
● Conditions that make it impossible for you to support yourself
The doctor will perform the following tests to screen for these conditions:
● Tuberculosis test
● Blood and urine tests
● Vaccination screening
● Drug and alcohol screening

Biometrics

Most applicants: $85.

Applicants under 14 years old or over 79 years old: $0

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